Following the decision of the Federal Government to take over the Gombe International Airport, the state government has demanded N10bn as compensation.
Disclosing this after the 2023 budget breakdown, the state Commissioner for Finance, Muhammad Magaji, said it was only fair to get the amount due to Gombe State’s spending in bringing the facility to international standards.
The commissioner captured this under the comparative analysis of 2022/2023 capital receipts, where the Federal Government is expected to make reimbursement of N10bn, 11.4 per cent of the total capital receipt.
Magaji explained, “There is a Federal Government policy to take over airports from state governments because airports are also termed as security assets because we do not only use them for commercial reasons, they are also used for military purposes and because of the strategic nature of Gombe, placed at the centre of north-east with an airforce tactical base, the Federal Government felt the need to take over the Gombe Airport.
“So that it could serve dual purposes of commercial and military purposes and as such Gombe State has spent over N11b to put up the airport. It is a 3.5-3.6Km runway airport. It was built based on international standards; it was an expensive venture. So, of course, if the Federal Government is taking it, it is only fair for the Federal Government to reimburse the state government for the amount it has spent in erecting the airport that is why you see the N10b captured.”
Governor Muhammadu Yahaya of Gombe State had proposed N173.6bn, but later signed N176bn.
Magaji explained during the breakdown that the increment displayed the beauty of democracy.
“The executive did its bit and submitted to the legislature. The legislature has the power to determine the size. It worked in conjunction with us,” Magaji added.
Article first published on the Punch Website